It’s “Black Music Month!” And while it may not sound okay to some folks to call music ‘Black’ or ‘White’ or ‘in-between,’ there are definitely historical and cultural roots to today’s beloved music genres. Black Music Month is a time to celebrate the music of a people born out of struggle and raised into triumph. It emerged from the swamps and plantations of the South, the steel mills and railroads of the North, and everywhere Black people have been in this country.
Most Black Music is derived from the rhythms of Africa, and in America, it mashed with other sounds to create the rhythmic pulses of most modern, Pop music.
From Hip-Hop’s inception, the musical art form has been ever-expanding and groundbreaking in every facet possible. Breaking boundaries across different socio-economic walks of life and cultures, from the inner city to the suburbs, from the U.S. to overseas, Hip-Hop has stretched its tentacles to nearly every crevice of the earth.
Jumping across genres as well, Hip-Hop has notably expanded to electronic dance music (EDM), getting its foot in the dual genre of electronic-Hip-Hop in its early years. Some of the earliest Hip-Hop acts had a profound grasp on how to utilize synths and electronic drum-making machines, giving Hip-Hop fans a taste of the European club sound that groups like Kraftwerk perfected.
Now, some groups are making millions and getting played on Pop music stations across the country, jumping from Hip-Hop only stations to stations that play a wider variety of music. Others are making glitch-type beats and performing at the renowned EDM based Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Check out some of AllHipHop.com's top EDM/Hip-Hop artists and tracks watch, as Hip-Hop makes the experimental jump to EDM:
Black Eyed Peas – With production from will.i.am that is unmatched, this group has sold more albums than 99% of most Hip-Hop acts today. From sold out arenas, to songs that remain on your local pop station, BEP has left an indelible mark on the game. Fergie even made the Kanye album.
"Boom Boom Pow"
Flo Rida – Dude is paid. All the haters gotta move to the side when he pulls up in the Bugatti. Honestly, what can you say when he is winning like this? He is probably one of the greatest selling Hip-Hop artists from Miami, aside from Rick Ross and Pitbull, and is the go-to guy for today's EDM/Hip-Hop mash-ups. Either way, it’s pretty dope to be mentioned in the same tax bracket as those dudes and he is constantly on tour.
Pitbull – From Dr. Pepper to a whole host of other promotions, this Cuban-American artist bred in Miami is knocking down every door imaginable. Remember when Pit was on MTV’s "Super Sweet 16" after that girl paid stupid dough for him to perform? Yeah…. Umm, he's getting way more than than right now.
2 Live Crew – These dudes were in serious trouble with the government, and almost couldn’t even put out their music due to its lewd and sexual nature. Things went all they way to the Supreme Court, and the group actually won a big victory for Hip-Hop and our freedom of speech. We owe them our gratitude for sure. BUT, if you REALLY listen to the sounds they incorporated, you will be impressed by the fact that they fully incorporated synths and 808s on their fast-paced beats that were just on the verge of house and techno music.
"Pop That Coochie"
Afrika Bambaatta and Soul Sonic Force – “Searching for the Perfect Beat"...need we go any further? Afrika possibly had one of the best songs ever in this genre. Def groundbreaking and one of breakdancers' favorite tracks to get down to - let us never forget “Planet Rock”. These dudes are LEGENDS. Get out of the room if you can’t get down to this. You don’t like Hip-Hop.
Nicki Minaj – Well, we just had to put her on this list after Rosenberg called out that pop radio-friendly “Starships” track for lacking the gritty elements enjoyed by Hip-Hop traditionalists. Let's be real - her music has a lot of electronic sounding instruments, and it's geared towards a younger generation that is in synch with the electro music of this era.
Kid Cudi – For all Cudi’s antics over the years, you have to give him credit for not being scared to break boundaries with his music. From changing his voice on Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreaks to the “Day N Night” track, which has been remade into dub step, and the very popular “Crookers” remix, Cudi is pumping out electronic Hip-Hop infused with psychedelics. , fans await his Indicud album, we can only expect it to get more trippy after the recently-released WZRD project, an experimental rock album that did pretty well on both Rock and Hip-Hop charts.
"Day N’ Night (Crookers Remix)"
Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz – How can we not consider Crunk music as part of this dance and electro Hip-Hop sounding music? With Jon’s use of synths and the such to create a whole new genre, he is now performing at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, one of the largest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the world. His DJ'ing and creation of more EDM styles of music has to be recognized. This guy is performing worldwide with this style of music.
Kanye West – Starting out chopping soul samples, to including glitch sounds in his most recent Watch The Throne project with Jay-Z, Kanye has expanded the minds of Hip-Hop producers far beyond what many thought was possible. Then you have 808s and Heartbreaks. That whole album was nearly an electronic experiment with auto-tune. Although it was a bit somber, one could say that it definitely took Kanye’s fans into the electronic realm of music. And, we'll remember the “Stronger” collaboration with Daft Punk as one of electronic music’s greatest modern day hat tricks.
LMFAO – Related to Barry Gordy and wild as all hell, these dudes possess some of the most hype music there is today, and it's hard not to put them in the Hip-Hop category after seeing them rap their a$$es off at SXSW a few years back. These guys are outta here, and prob aren't coming back to earth anytime soon. Check the amount of YouTube views they are getting. It's somewhere in the hundreds of millions, oh, and they like to rap, too.
Outkast – Outkast made this list due to some of the music they put out towards the end of their run in the early 2000s. Stankonia in and of itself was very electronic in nature, with songs like the mind-blowing “B.O.B”. Andre and Big Boi have never been ones to shy away from pushing their music to different place, and “B.O.B.” showed that.
"B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)"
WE KNOW THERE ARE LOTS MORE EXAMPLES, BUT WE CAN'T POSSIBLY LIST THEM ALL! SHARE YOUR OWN BELOW!HAPPY BLACK MUSIC MONTH!
Don't forget to check out "We Got The Jazz": AllHipHop.com's Top 5 to Mash-up Rap With Abstract, along with a great "Black Music Month Book Notes" column to help get your historical Hip-Hop weight up!